Standing Committee on Natural Resources – JUNE 2014 – 41st PARLIAMENT, SECOND SESSION (Government of Canada report)
In November 2013, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources (hereafter “the Committee”) commenced a study on the rare earth elements (REE) industry in Canada. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities related to the development of REE in Canada and around the world. This document summarizes witness testimony presented to the Committee during the course of four meetings.
It is organized according to the following topics: background information on REE and their applications; REE global market, including the role of China in rare earths supply; opportunities and challenges of developing rare earth resources in Canada with a brief overview of current exploration activity; and, ongoing initiatives that support Canada’s REE industry.
PART I — BACKGROUND
A. What Are Rare Earth Elements?
Rare earth elements (REE)1 are a group of 17 metals (including scandium and yttrium), which exhibit similar properties and occur in many of the same mineral deposits. According to Christine Villemure, Director General at Natural Resources Canada, contrary to what the term “rare earths” may suggest, REE are relatively abundant in the earth’s crust.2 However, REE seldom occur in concentrations that are economically exploitable; instead, they are found together with other elements and as a result, are difficult to separate for extraction.3 Continue Reading →